…says his right has been infringed upon
By Al-Sirajdeen Alhameed Minna//:
A Minna based legal practitioner Barr. Benjamin Attah, has petitioned the commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Niger State Command, Mr. Haruna Bala Zurmi, over the unlawful detention of his client, Alhaji Surajo Mariga.
Barr. Attah had filed a suit in Minna High court for the enforcement of his fundamental right as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria.
In a 17 paragraph affidavit deposed at a Minna High court, the legal practitioner claimed that Alhaji Surajo Mariga, who is business man based in Mariga Local government area of Niger State was unlawfully arrested in the glare eyes of the public on Market day and was whisked away in a waiting Hilux van belonging to NSCDC.
Joint in the suit are the Deputy Commandant in charge of investigation, Mr. Bello Alkali Argungu and Assistant Superintendent of corps, Mr. Nurudeen Abdulkadir of the Niger State command of the NSCDC.
According to the statement, “Pursuant to Order two Rule three of fundamental rights enforcement procedure file in court, declared that the plaintiff is a reputable business man in Mariga town, adding that his arrest and detention is an embarrassment to the plaintiff in the full glare of people in the open market of Mariga town without any reason by the respondents is an infringement of the constitutionally guaranteed right of the plaintiff”
The counsel further claimed that the plaintiff place on all the depositions contained in all the paragraphs in the affidavit in compliance with order 2 of the rules.
“The applicant being a business man was embarrassed and maltreated by the respondents in that the 1st respondent ordered for the applicants arrest and detention and the said order was carried out by the 2nd and the 3rd respondent who went with Hilux to Mariga market to arrest him with armed men in the open market in full glare of the people in the market. The applicant, despite his protest of wanting to know what he did he was not told of his offence till date. The applicant is still being detained for over 48 hours without him being taken to court from the 26th of March, 2021 till date” he lamented.
Barr. Attah further submitted that whether or not the degrading treatment and arrest of his client in the full glare of hundreds of people in Mariga market and his detention without giving him reason for so doing is not an infringement of his fundamental right.
“We submit that every individual in this country is entitled to respect for dignity of his person as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as Amended) section 34(1) (a) provides” he added.
Summiting further, the legal practitioner, averred that there are over 30 courts of competent jurisdiction in Minna, should the respondents decided to take him to any court; Federal High court, state high court, Magistrate Court among others, but they deliberately chose to keep him in detention in their facility for the show of strength or might and in total disregard to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended), “and we urge my Lord to so hold, and to hold that their breach of the provisions of the Constitution is a gross violation of the applicants fundamental right”
He argued further that the provision of section 35 (6), of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) “is that any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be entitled to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person.”
“On the whole we urge my Lord to hold that the applicant is entitled to compensation and public apology. We submit that from the above sections of the Constitution and authorities, what the respondents did to the applicant from the 26th of March 2022 was illegal and violation of his fundamental right” he asserted.
In a swift reaction to the claimed of the legal practitioner, the public Relations officer of the state command of the NSCDC, Nasir Abdullahi ASC, explained that Alhaji Surajo Mariga was arrested and detained by the state command of the corps on the allegations of vandalizing of some national critical installation that was arranged before a Federal High court in Minna.
He disclosed that the accused was granted bail by the Federal High court in Minna and he jumped bail, adding that he was on the run after he was granted bail.
According to the state Corp spokesman, he was involved in the vandals of Nitel mask some times in September last year and was charged to Federal High court in Minna” and since he was granted bail, he has severally refused to come back to court. Since then the command has been on his trail until we got the hint of his where about somewhere in Mariga before our men arrested him and brought him for detention in our facility. So what we did is just to exercise our duty by complying with the court order.
“Even though, the legal department of the command has not gotten any court summon, that is just the position of the command as far as the arrest and detention of Alhaji Surajo Mariga is concerned. So I’m telling you that he is under detention for an offence of vandalizing Nitel mask and we don’t have any regret for our action” he declared.